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Sensations Reviews

Sensations by Jonathan Jones

Sensations

A New History of British Art

Jonathan Jones

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Laurence King Publishing
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Publication date: 22 Apr 2019
ISBN: 9781786272973

What is the artistic impulse uniting Robert Hooke's drawings of insects, George Stubbs's studies of horses and Damien Hirst's pickled shark? In this new and spirited account of British art , Jonathan Jones argues for empiricism.

5 stars out of 5
Laura Freeman
20 Apr 2019

"Sensations is a riveting story of art and science: thoughtful, provocative and persuasive"

There’s something of the pugilist to Jones. Ideas and arguments come thick and fast. If John “Ways of Seeing” Berger knocks you out flat, and if Kenneth “Civilisation” Clark dances and weaves around the ring, Jones delivers smart, sharp hooks to the jaw. Boff! Boff! Boff! I may not agree with Jones on every blow, but I rather enjoyed the pummelling... The author’s lens is necessarily focused. Invention and inspiration are less important to this story than the independent, inquiring eye and mind. At times I hankered for a bit of the old “divine, unknowable genius” magic. Nevertheless, Sensations is a riveting story of art and science: thoughtful, provocative and persuasive. 

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Jan Dalley
19 Apr 2019

"There’s a really terrific book here, erudite, impassioned, fascinating: it should have been “The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Turner”. Et finis. "

There’s a really terrific book here, erudite, impassioned, fascinating: it should have been “The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Turner”. Et finis. For when Turner dies in 1851, the light goes out of British art, and to a large extent out of this book. Though Turner was a lusty Georgian, by the time of his death the third great repression had its stranglehold on British society and thought: Victorian prudery... Now Sensations becomes a different book: episodic and fractured (as perhaps suits the age), jumping across to Europe and back, co-opting the American-born Sargent and Whistler into the narrative (which also suits the age), but getting clogged up by asides on suffragettes, Irish Home Rule, the causes of the first world war and more.